The Missouri men’s basketball team must have thought they were gifted a late Christmas present when they saw they were playing Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday night.
The Golden Lions entered Mizzou Arena riding a six-game losing skid and a 2-11 record. It was just what the Tigers needed to break a three-game losing streak and regain their balance before heading into Southeastern Conference play.
From the opening tip, it was clear that Missouri had an advantage in every facet of the game. Mizzou started with crisp ball movement, leading to easy paint points and an early 9-5 lead after five minutes of play.
However, it did not feel that Mizzou had reached their full potential until there were six minutes left in the first half. Despite leading 21-8 at that point and playing stifling defense, the Tigers had missed five shots in a row.
Then, the team’s only senior in center Ryan Rosburg, flew down the court in transition and threw down a powerful two-handed and-1 dunk. The Tigers were visibly excited and used the score to fuel what would become a 17-0 run over an eight minute span. At the end of the first half, Missouri led 39-12.
Mizzou picked up the second half right where they left off in the first. Junior forward Russell Woods and freshman forward Kevin Puryear each threw down dunks over the top of helpless Arkansas Pine-Bluff defenders on consecutive possessions as Missouri’s lead increased to 47-17 with 17 minutes left in the game.
Missouri would continue dominating the Golden Lions until the final whistle blew. The Tigers won their first game in over two weeks, 78-25.
The Tigers played 13 of the 14 players on the roster during Tuesday’s game — 11 out of those 13 scored at least once. The victory was also Missouri’s largest margin of victory (53) since the Tiger’s victory over Harris-Stowe in 2010 (54).
With the victory, the Tigers are now 6-6 on the season. Missouri’s next game is against Savannah State on Saturday, Jan. 2. The game will be played at Mizzou Arena at 2 p.m. and will be broadcasted on SEC Network+.